By: Terry Harris | Email: Click Here
Posted: September 11, 2018 | 12:55 p.m.
SURRY – Tyrone W. Franklin, one of the longest serving County Administrators in the region, was recognized at the September Surry County Board of Supervisors meeting upon his upcoming retirement on September 30. Beginning as Director of Planning & Community Development in 2001 and serving since 2005 as County Administrator, Franklin has accumulated an impressive number of appointments and honors and is credited with over twenty significant projects and achievements during the time that he has served the county.
Just prior to the BOS meeting, Franklin reflected on his time serving Surry County, saying, “It’s been a good span for me. I was green when I first started, and I’m very appreciative of the board working with me to get started and citizens working with me. I knew what I wanted to do in terms of coming here and helping the county – to have been of service. That’s it. What I was about was trying to advance Surry county. I’m passionate about Surry. I root for the underdog. I’ve always noticed in my travels how Surry needed to be recognized for the great place that it is, and to have some of the tools afforded to a lot of other places that may be taken for granted. My plan was to make Surry as equal in a conversation about what counties have to offer. I’m hoping that with the foundation that has been put in place for Surry that they can start to realize some of the things that other places take for granted. Things that we have yet to accomplish in this community.”
“A lot of times people want things to happen overnight – immediately,” he continued. “You have to crawl… before you walk. A lot of things we’ve brought about we didn’t have to begin with, so over time, you may be able to appreciate how some of the things that are in infancy stages now will grow and get better. We’ve been fighting for Broadband for years. We have a presence. We have the technology with the fiber being in the community. As time goes on we’ll see a lot of improvement with what we have attempted to bring into this community, and hopefully people will appreciate it.”
Asked about his favorite thing about the county, he responded, “Its history. Very proud people. And it’s contagious. It rubs off on you. It rubbed off on me. Made me want to be a fighter for this community.”
His wish for the county he described as “Convenience. For people to be able to feel the comfort of living rural, but having the convenience to feel like they don’t always have to travel outside their boundaries to receive care, services, to have a good time, and the like – all the things that you tend to take for granted. But it takes effort to bring them into play and to be able to be utilized for the citizens. So I guess what I want for this community is to have a great quality of life and to feel that they have the benefit of the conveniences that the others have as well.”
As for the job from which he is retiring, he said, “This is not an easy position. I’m an introvert. People don’t know that about me. It forced me to come out of my shell – but for the good.” With his shy humor, he pointed to his head, laughed, and added, “And I’ve grayed a lot! When I first started, my hair was jet black and I was young and full of energy and excited, and I’m still that way. But you have to have discernment in order to be effective in positions like this. You have to be able to see things happen before they happen, and process and try to find ways to keep the negatives from happening and to make sure more positive things happen than negatives. You’re always thinking. Even now, I’m always processing. Over time, that will wear on you.”
As for the next chapter in his life, Franklin said, “I still want to be helpful – impactful in some way. Helping communities. It doesn’t necessarily have to be A community as in Surry County’s case. It could be working on a larger scale, maybe the state level, helping communities – plural – in some way. Maybe doing some consulting work, to help in some way with a problem or problems. But I’ve always wanted to look at things in a holistic, comprehensive way, and go about solving problems in that process – pragmatically. If I can be of some use, some help, that’s my next step.”
Glowing comments in praise of Franklin were shared before, during and after the BOS meeting. BOS Chairman Seward read a resolution from the board containing a lengthy list of Franklin’s attributes and accomplishments, describing him as “passionate and dedicated public servant of Surry county” and ending with saying that the board appreciates that he has “helped to make Surry County a better place for all of its citizens.” Seward added, “I would like to personally thank Mr. Franklin for his hard work and dedication and love of Surry County over these years. We’re going to really miss you. I hope you’ll stick around and help guide us.”
David Lloyd, President of Kings’ Landing Neighborhood Association, addressed the BOS directly, saying, “Mr. Franklin has been extremely thoughtful, helpful and extremely courteous. He has been extremely cooperative on every occasion on a whole variety of issues that I’ve dealt with him on with regard to needs of the community. That is an important quality for someone who will follow him in this position, and I hope that you will select someone who will work as collegially and as effectively with the public as he has throughout his tenure here. He set the benchmark for courteous leadership in this county and community support.”
Ray Phelps, Director of Surry County’s Emergency Management Services, said, “In the short amount of time I was able to work with Mr. Franklin, we were able to develop momentum for Surry County’s Department of Emergency Management Services and our volunteer services. His enthusiasm will be missed; however, the momentum created will bring positive change to Surry County and I wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
Dr. Michael E. Thornton said, “In the short time that I have been here, Mr. Franklin has been a partner from day one in supporting public education. We’re going to miss him and his support of the schools here. I’m going to miss him. It’s rare that County Administration and School Administration can work so closely together for the good of the students, so I’m really going to miss him and I know the school’s going to miss him as well.”
Asked for a response to the outpouring of goodwill, Franklin modestly replied, “I just wish this community well. I wish that whoever is my replacement is able to work with the board and the citizens and bring about whatever change that they see is necessary for this community. The future is bright – and that’s what we need to focus on, I love Surry. I tried to do the best job that I could for Surry, and I’m in a good place. I’m sad to leave the community in terms of working for the community, but everybody has a season and I’ve had mine. I’m going to help any way I can. Surry has always been my passion and I’m going to miss everybody. It’s been a great ride.”